Isabella Bywater Director & Designer

Isabella Bywater is an award winning designer, and now also director, for Opera and Theatre. Isabella will be directing and designing Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw for the English National Opera. Premiere at the London Coliseum October 2024

In April 2023 Isabella directed and designed Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs for the English National Opera at the London Coliseum conducted by Lidyia Yankovskaya, with soprano Nicole Chevalier.

Her debut in 2013 as director/designer was Gounod’s Faust at the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, conducted by Valery Gergiev, which opened to critical acclaim. She has since directed and designed Puccini’s Il Tabarro, Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica, for Den Norske Opera in Oslo, Lucia di Lammermoor for Den Jyske Opera in Denmark and La Boheme for San Diego Opera in California.

She was nominated 2 Golden Mask Awards for best production design and best costume design and nominated a Golden Sofit Award for best scenography; winning the Golden Sofit Award for Best Opera Production of 2011 all for A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Mariinsky, St Petersburg.

Isabella has designed sets and costumes for over 50 productions both in the UK and internationally. As a designer she collaborated with many directors, including Jonathan Miller, with whom she worked for over 17 years. She is also a portrait sculptor and studied philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London.

Isabella Bywater Director & Designer

Symphony of Sorrowful Songs at English National Opera

‘Hauntingly beautiful production’ Five stars ***** The Times

‘Visionary’ Five stars ***** The Stage

‘Absorbing and emotionally wrenching visualisation’ Four stars **** The i

‘Stunning’ Four stars **** The Guardian

‘Enthralling’ Four stars **** Financial Times

‘Achieved full marks for beauty and mystery’ Four stars **** The Observer

‘ENO is to be congratulated on a production that brings out the best in Górecki’s powerful music’ Four stars **** Daily Express

Isabella Bywater - Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

Lucia Di Lammermoor at Danish National Opera

‘It was a thriller… a brilliant event – clear and inspiring’ John Chritiansen, JCKlassisk

‘A really great staging… a positive surprise… Five stars. *****’ Flensborg Avis, Rigmor Eybye

‘Grippling and moving. The mad scene was paralysing – violent, gentle, wild, despairing and dreamy, leading down several paths at once. An unexpected ecstasy. Four stars. ****” Gregers Dirckinck-Holmfeld

‘The performance of the famous mad scene was insane… it elevated Den Jyske Opera. Four stars. ****” Kristeligt Dagblad

‘A very compelling and gripping performance. Four stars. ****” Ole Staarup, Aarhus Stiftsidende

La Boheme at San Diego Opera

‘A wonderful verismo production designed and directed by Isabella Bywater’  David Gregson Opera West

Faust at the Mariinsky Theatre

‘ Isabella Bywater’s Faust at Mariinsky: fresh ideas, rich colours, musically responsive. Knocks out the Victorian stuffing ‘  Rupert Christiansen @TelegraphOpera

‘ Much to Bywater’s credit the director turned this sentimental opera (Faust) into a production that is more philosophical… toyed intelligently with the divine and the devilish ‘  St Petersburg Times

Productions Directed & Designed by Isabella Bywater

Symphony of Sorrowful Songs    English National Opera 2023
Suor Angelica    Den Norske Opera Oslo 2019
Il Tabarro & Gianni Schicchi    Den Norske Opera Oslo 2018
La Boheme    San Diego California 2015
Lucia Di Lammermoor    Jyske Opera 2014
Faust    Mariinsky Theatre 2013

Isabella Bywater Costume Designer

Productions Designed by Isabella Bywater

Madam Butterfly    Lindy Hume    Welsh National Opera
Idomeneo    Stephen Medcalf    Buxton Festival Opera
Don Pasquale    Jonathan Miller   Bilbao
Boheme    Jonathan Miller   Liceu Barcelona
La Traviata    Claudia Solti   Mariinsky St Petersburg
Aida    Stephen Medcalf   Royal Albert Hall London
A Midsummer Night’s Dream    Claudia Solti   Mariinsky St Petersburg
King Lear    Jonathan Miller   Northern Broadsides
Don Pasquale    Jonathan Miller   La Scala Milan
Rutherford & Sons    Jonathan Miller   Northern Broadsides
Don Pasquale    Jonathan Miller   ROH Covent Garden
La Boheme    Jonathan Miller   Cincinnati/ English National Opera
La Traviata    Jonathan Miller   Glimmerglass, Vancouver & New York City Opera
Fidelio    Jonathan Miller   Musikhuset Aarhus
Der Rosenkavalier    Jonathan Miller   New National Tokyo
The Cherry Orchard    Jonathan Miller   The Crucible Sheffield
Jenufa    Jonathan Miller   Glimmerglass
L’Elisir d’Amore  Jonathan Miller  English National Opera & New York City Opera
Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail    Stephen Medcalf   Ancona, Cagliari & Palermo

La Clemenza Di Tito    Jonathan Miller   Opernhaus Zurich
Falstaff    Jonathan Miller   New National Tokyo
Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail    Jonathan Miller   Opernhaus Zurich
L’Elisir D’Amore    Jonathan Miller   Kungliga Stockholm
The Macropulos Case    Knut Hendriksen   Kungliga Stockholm
Eugene Onegin    Jonathan Miller   Santa Fe Opera & Seattle
Don Pasquale    Jonathan Miller   Teatro Comunale di Firenze
Ermione    Jonathan Miller   Santa Fe Opera
I Puritani    Jonathan Miller   Bayerische Staatsoper
Nabucco    Jonathan Miller   Opernhaus Zurich
Ezio    Stephen Medcalf   Theatre Des Champs-Elysees Paris
Cavalleria Rusticana    Pagliacci    Knut Hendriksen / Kungliga Stockholm
King Arthur    Francisco Negrin   Guildhall School of M&DKing
Of Mice & Men    Dominic Cooke    Nottingham Playhouse
The Flying Dutchman    Keith Warner   New Sussex Opera
Titus Andronicus    Deborah Warner   Royal Shakespeare Company
The Turn of the Screw    Robert Carsen   Britten Theatre London
Eugene Onegin    Nicholas Hytner   Jack Lyons Theatre London




Please contact Isabella through her agent:

Simon Ash at Nr1 Creatives Ltd

+44 (0) 1394 385 260

Nr1 Creatives Ltd
The Valley
Heathside Road

Isabella Bywater Director & Designer